I believe immunotherapy is my best chance for getting rid of my cancer. The first option for melanoma is surgery, which I had, but once it metastasized it had spread to too many places for that to work. I was told that if they tried it would turn my lungs into Swiss cheese... that may seem like a horrible thing to tell a patient, but I find it an apt and amusing comparison. Do all cancer patients end up with a slightly twisted sense of humor to survive? :)
My reading of current research and my doctors recommendations both supported trying immunotherapy first, so that's where I've focused my treatment. So far I have had interleukin-2, ipilimumab (Yervoy) combined with IL-21, ipilimumab combined with radiation, IL-15, TIL therapy (chemo, followed by a TIL infusion, followed by IL-2), and currently am taking MPDL3280A (PD-L1) combined with cobimetinib (MEK inhibitor).
The exciting thing is that immunotherapy offers the possibility of a long term remission. What would you be willing to do for a chance at fifty more years of life?
Melanoma has low response rates to chemotherapy, and with so many promising new immunotherapy or targeted therapy drugs coming out I actually never gave chemotherapy a second thought. In my mind, as someone in my twenties, I have so many more years to live if one of these treatments does make my cancer disappear for the long term. I want to try whatever may have a chance of making that happen.